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Rockford Public Schools Still Recovering From Ransomware Attack One Month Later

Chase Cavanaugh
Auburn High School in Rockford

At the beginning of the school year, Rockford Public Schools experienced a ransomware cyberattack knocking out digital equipment across the district. More than a month later, the technology is still not all the way back.

The most important services, like their online grading and attendance systems just returned at the end of last week. But, whether they work perfectly or not can still be hit and miss.

Mel Gilfillan is the president of the Rockford Education Association. He said he’s been hearing similar concerns from teachers in the district.

“It's just been a huge inconvenience,” he said. “Most school districts have really pushed their teachers to become tech-savvy and to rely heavily on technology in the classroom.”

But despite that, he says teachers have been working overtime to stay on schedule.

“You hear those kinds of stories of teachers getting together on coffee shops over the weekend at grade-level meetings to make sure that they had the materials they needed, making copies at their own expense,” said Gilfillan.

Educators are also pivoting their lesson plans to stay on track. For many teachers that includes more paper assignments, writing and reading out loud.

“The great thing that we've heard is how many of our teachers have been able to adapt and just make the learning process continue to go because they've gone, you know, kind of back in time,” he said.  

It also means finding ways to communicate with parents outside of their usual online portal.

A spokesperson for the district says they aren't yet prepared to give an update on the outage.